March 15th, 2009
10:56 AM ET
9 years ago

Cheney: 9/11 called for 'exception' on spending limits


Photo credit: Josh Rubin/CNN

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Vice President Dick Cheney said the administration was not to blame for poor economic conditions in the country, telling CNN's John King congressional Democrats had prevented it from heading off the financial threat posed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and that September 11 had forced the United States into "wartime mode" and spending.

Watch: 'I worry very much' about Obama's economic policies, says Cheney

Asked by King about key measures of economic health that had declined during the Bush administration, Cheney replied that there were "all kinds of arguments to be made on that point, but there's something that's more important than the specific numbers you're talking about, and that had to be priority for our administration: eight months after we arrived, we had 9/11. We had 3,000 Americans killed one morning by Al Qaeda terrorists here in America.

"We immediately went into wartime mode, we ended up with two wars, in Afghanistan and Iraq, some of that still very active. We had major problems with respect to things like Katrina, for example. All of these things required us to spend money that we had not originally planned to spend, or weren't originally part of the budget," he said.

"Stuff happens. And the administration has to be able to respond to that, and we did."

Filed under: Dick Cheney • State of the Union
soundoff (183 Responses)
  1. Andy in Ann Arbor

    Technically, he is not a complete liar...

    1. – "there's something that's more important than the specific numbers you're talking about, and that had to be priority for our administration" – clearly the NeoCons priority was war, and that is what they focused on. So, here we see Cheney telling the truth.

    2. – "Stuff happens. And [a] administration has to be able to respond to that" – this, technically is true.

    1 – "we had not originally planned to spend or weren’t originally part of the budget" – guarantee you that in-depth numbers were provided on war-mobilization

    2 – "We did" (in response to "Stuff happening") –, you didn't. Unless you consider a "response" the destruction of Afghanistan and Iraq, meddling in their affairs like U.S. policy has done over and over in the M.E. since the 50s.

    March 15, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  2. Amy

    Spin can't change the truth.

    History will judge the Bush/Cheney administration as a miserable failure.

    March 15, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  3. Mike from Phoenix

    Whether intentional or not. Given conspiracy theories or not. The Bush/ Cheney administration along with the complicit Republicans continued the work of the terrorists plan to drive our country, and Western society into chaos and failure. We are on that brink. Bush et al promoted their own form of terrorism by instilling fear into our society and taking away parts of our civil liberties.
    I totally disagree with Cheney that we are more at risk of another attack. I believe the supposed "terrorists" out there are more mindful of the fact that you attack us now and the response will be swift, hard, and specifically directed attackers, whether individual our regional.
    Bush/Cheney and company will go to there graves forever trying to justify their satanic attempt to justify what will go down in history as a very dark period in our country's political/economic legacy.

    March 15, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  4. Flo

    9/11 forced the country into war time and spending.....................hmmm it is just me or is Cheney forget to mention how did we even get into this war. Bush administration could of prevented this attack if they had acted to prevent this from happening. And Cheney thinks Obama is bad for this country...............Please Mr. Cheney remove your blinders

    Why didn't John King asked Cheney about the August 6, 2001 intelligence briefing that warned Bush on Bin Laden intent to attack on American soil. Maybe if they took this briefing seriously they wouldn't have to sell Americans on WMD's in Iraq to wage a war we shouldn't have been fought in the first place. I tell you, the American should be interviewing these politicians not journalists.

    March 15, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  5. David Mackintosh

    He still speaks as if 9/11 caused the war in Iraq. How people can continue to believe falsehoods long since discredited always amazes me.

    March 15, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  6. Dorothy in NC

    You and Bush used 9/11 to advance your own war adgenda at the cost of not only the lives of thousands of our brave soldiers but also to put this country into such a national debt that we will never be able to climb out. You two are responsible for everything that has happened. I would like to know how much money Cheney made thru Haliburton from the time he took over the VP until he left.
    Would someone please look into this?

    As for Hurricane Katrina, I don't know how he can even mention that. That was the sorriest example of the leadershp of the Bush administration just as using 9/11 to promote their own hatred, warmongering and spending.

    You truly amaze me as much out of office as you did in office.

    Can't someone figure out how to start a war crime trial for this maniac?

    March 15, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  7. Johnna

    doesn't anyone see the irony that we attacked Iraq for ignoring UN sanctions for nuclear inspections but by attacking Iran we ignored UN sanctions?

    March 15, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  8. Noah Buddey

    Wait a second – the government didn't have financial reserves in place in case there's a natural disaster (Katrina)? There's not any contingency plans for unforeseen acts of nature? You'd think something would be place considering the damages that Southern Florida suffers each year during hurricane season. ... Add to that – wartime mode following 911? There was money spent on pursuing Bin Laden? Why does it seem that all the focus was on removing Saddam from power instead of bringing the individual responsible for 911 to justice. I wish I saw the full interview because what's posted above seems pretty ridiculous coming from the most recent former vice-president.

    March 15, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  9. Robert

    "we ended up with two wars" is a conveniently short way of glossing over the fact that one of them was based on lies (Iraq), and the other was supposed to be a limited war to go get Bin Laden.

    US Special Forces actually had Bin Laden cornered, but were denied critical support. Mr. Cheney, can you tell me what your money smells like drenched in blood? A country in 'war mode' looks like it, but spending $90,000 on mercenaries on security and keeping the real costs off the books makes it look like your private war, not a public one. Unfortunately, now that the money is spent, the US has very little room to do what it needs to do right now.

    March 15, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  10. J. Huck

    Is CNN running out of news????

    Why are they still giving airtime to this idiot... Congress should move on in prosecuting people in ths last administration starting from this monster.

    March 15, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  11. chris24

    the truth of the matter is: blah, blah, blah.

    this spin doctor is insane.

    find him a nice jail cell.

    March 15, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  12. Agalag

    George Bush kept us safe. I wasn't as worried that a terrorist nation would attack us again with GWB; and Cheney is correct about all of that security being very, very expensive. Think about prior to 9/11–the alert levels, the security at the airports, the machinery to inspect the bags, all the extra personnel–didn't exist. Where do you all think the $$$ came from for these updates? The creation of just the TSA, for example–big money! Think about what your life was like prior to 9/11–and think about it now. Now think about George Bush. It could have been worse–a lot worse.

    March 15, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  13. Jesse

    Wow. The republicans really have become a parody of themselves.

    March 15, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  14. Joanna

    And the safety and stability of our own country is not an exception in our own country? I know this man is not serious when he says this. Opps i better be careful before he puts a hit out on me!

    March 15, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  15. Big J

    Katie @ 10:59

    You're arguments are not sound! You wouldn't know capitalism if it bit you! Or a joke if you heard it. You areonly repeating the same tired talk radio points that are geared to give you a quick fix of anger stoking. Now have a good day!

    March 15, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  16. Simon

    Why isn't this traitor in a prison cell?

    March 15, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  17. DB25

    Dick Cheney is a loser. He has no right to make comments about other administrations on protecting the US. Remember what a great job they did of protecting us when Bush came into office? 9/11...great job Dick and Bush. If you had been doing such a wonderful job as you claim we never would have been attacked in the first place.

    March 15, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  18. Rubyredman

    ...36 posts so far and 2 supporting the ex-VP. About right. Just shows there's still a small percentage of people who are so stuck then cannot learn.

    March 15, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  19. Linda in MS

    we went to war in Iraq with information Bush had, which came from a very dubious source, an Iraqi who was later discredited. We went to war in Iraq because Bush wanted to believe there was evidence to do so, not because there was evidence. We went to war in Afghanistan because that's where Bin Laden and Al Qaida was and is today. Two totally different scenarios. Cheny is and was a liar.

    March 15, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  20. Saad from NJ

    I don't get mad at this guy anymore.... I do NOT thing he's normal. He still believes in his retarded head that what he has put our nation through in the last 8 years was ok and justified. This guy is insane. And why would YOU give him the opportunity CNN? what is wrong with you?

    This guys is responsible for causing us trillions of dollars of financial damage, hundreds of thousands of deaths (including our brave men and women as well as innocent Iraqi civilians) and is responsible for raising millions of Americans blood pressure and giving them a cancer of hopelessness.

    I wish this guy well but CNN, please leave him alone now. Be on American public's side – not on the side of one individual.

    March 15, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  21. David Gray

    3000 people died on 9/11. 18000 people die every year in this country because they don't have health insurance. So why did the Bush Administration spend so much money on one, but not the other?

    March 15, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  22. Lifesajourney

    CHENEY IS A DELUSIONAL CROOK. He ran our country into the ground for 8 it's time for him to SHUT UP. We don't care what this crook thinks, says or does. He belongs in jail, and we all know it.

    March 15, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  23. DAN

    Cheney - Guess what? You are not in charge anymore. The Obama leadership is - and is doing a better job than you can only imagine. 9/11 could have been prevented – thanks to Bush. And for Katrina, the Bush Administration did NOTHING. You can't rest on your laurels at all - because you have none.

    Step aside.... the Democrats are in power and they are doing something - including picking up all of your messes of the past 8 years.

    You should be ashamed of yourself!

    March 15, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  24. Tmlc

    Cheney is stipulating that after WWII our economy bounced back like no other economy, because of all the war spending was driving jobs and servicemen who came back home to spend the money they made back here. The problem with that comparison is that during this war the money went to corporations like Black Water, no contract bid contractors and corporations who were paid to rebuild Iraq but instead just pocketed the money. So the money went to the top and not to the servicemen, like it did during WWII. Not that WWII servicemen were paid well, but they came out and had healthcare coverage and education grants they could actually use. The military did their own wash, cooked their own meals it wasn't some privatized company reaping the $ and not doing the work they were paid to do. No one is accountable for the money. Just look at the servicemen who were electrocuted and killed taking showers, who was accountable for that? It was a private company's failure. Cheney I hope you sleep well at night. Warmonger ~

    March 15, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  25. Steve H.

    It's time for "Spiro" Cheney to fade away.

    March 15, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
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